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SIEG SC4 lathe opinions please

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Geoff~19/10/2013 13:57:44
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31 forum posts

Hi all,

I am considering buying the SIEG SC4 lathe. Are there any owners here who could voice their opinions of this machine please?

Ketan, I read somewhere that ARC had one for evaluation but I note that it has yet to appear in your range. Was there something you weren’t happy with?

thanks

Geoff~

Stub Mandrel19/10/2013 15:08:57
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4315 forum posts
291 photos
1 articles

There's a favourable review HERE, at least of the features - they haven't actually turned anything yet!

Neil

Dunc19/10/2013 15:20:37
138 forum posts

Another here:

http://www.mini-lathe.com/m4/C4/c4.htm

Ketan Swali19/10/2013 15:45:01
1425 forum posts
133 photos
Posted by Geoff Prince on 19/10/2013 13:57:44:

Hi all,

I am considering buying the SIEG SC4 lathe. Are there any owners here who could voice their opinions of this machine please?

Ketan, I read somewhere that ARC had one for evaluation but I note that it has yet to appear in your range. Was there something you weren’t happy with?

thanks

Geoff~

Geoff,

We had brought in two. One we sold off with little profit. We have one left. Still havn't had a chance to check it properly. Was going to let it go to someone, but decided not to. Person came to have a look. Said it was noisy and would I drop the price. I said it would be better left with me to check why it was noisy, rather than let it go, which is what I intend to do, when we have some time.

On a commercial note, cant make up my mind if we will sell it or not. The distance between centres is same as the SC3. It falls in between the SC3 and SC6. Our purchase cost price is not too dissimilar to the SC6. Not sure if the power cross feed is enough of an incentive, and considering that it has a metric lead screw, not yet convinced that it is a metric as well as an imperial lathe by use of that special gear - all in one.

Sorry, for the time being, I will sit on the fence for a little longer before making a decision.

Thanks, Ketan.

Bob Perkins19/10/2013 18:19:19
249 forum posts
60 photos

Hi Geoff

I bought myself a SC4 a couple of years ago. I hand' owned a lathe for a number of years, and that was an old Myford ML4. I wanted a machine that would run pretty much straight out of the box. I had read stories about how it would need to be stripped down and rebuilt to the move casting sand etc but these proved false. I have made a few tweaks to it but nothing outside the scope of a newbie, which I still class myself as. I had an electronics problem a few weeks in with it, which Axminster sorted really quickly for me, and have had no other problems since. I have been really pleased with it, pleased enough to by a SX2 mill form Ketan. Ditto comments with regard to service and quality from Arc as well as Axminster. Speed control is really good with plenty of torque. I would buy another if that is a recommendation? Completed a few projects and some tooling with it now and the accuracy seems fine. Hope this helps, happy to answer any specific queries.

regads

Bob..

Lathejack19/10/2013 20:05:27
311 forum posts
329 photos

Hello Geoff.

The SIEG C4 seems to be overall a fine machine. It has cross and longitudinal power feeds built into the apron, so you only need to engage the lead screw thread for thread cutting. It even has a tee slotted top slide as well as the cross slide.

The headstock spindle is not driven directly by the motor drive belt, it is gear driven from a shaft at the side of it, and this can sometimes be a little noisy on the odd example. This gear can be disengaged, so if the lathe has a milling head fitted I think it allows you to still use power feeds when milling without the headstock spindle rotating, which could be a little dangerous.

SIEG also do a version with a quick change screw cutting gearbox, however while doing so it looks like they saw fit to remove the power feeds from the apron, which reduces its usefulness. I think this model is called the C4 Basic.

I have often wondered myself why ARC have never offered this machine and have spoken to Ketan about it on a couple of occasions at the Harrogate show, but his post answers this. To me ARC machines always seem a bit neater and tidier than the same supplied by some others.

Most owners of the C4 seem well impressed and happy with them.

All the best.

wheeltapper20/10/2013 12:54:45
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424 forum posts
98 photos

Hi

I've got the Chester clone of the C4 ( Comet variable speed) and it's done most things I've asked of it.

Yes, there are shortcomings but most everything you buy will have some.

there's no gearbox so it's a messy old job swopping change gears to cut a thread, having said that I have cut loads of threads, external, internal and left hand.

As lathejack says, the drive gear can be a bit noisy.

I lubricate that gear and the change gears with chainsaw oil, it's nice and sticky and doesn't fly everywhere.

If there is one thing I would like it's a tumbler reverse, it's getting messy with changing gears again to reverse the leadscrew.

Overall tho I'm pleased with mine, look in my album and you'll see I have made the Nemmet Lynx engine, Gerrys beam engine, also various fixtures and gadgets.

Hope this is some help.

Roy.

John Shepherd21/10/2013 11:50:49
222 forum posts
7 photos

Geoff

I have had a C4 for a while now and I do not regret buying it.

1. The variable speed is very useful. You can easily adjust the speed to suit the tool and material, I find this far better method of determining the right speed than the cutting speed charts I have.

2. The powered cross feed is a mixed blessing. It is a nice to have rather than a must have I think. The downside is that it is operated by the same lever as the traverse and without practice, it is easy to select the wrong position or if you are not careful, inadvertently put it in cross feed mode when turning the traverse off.

3. It fitted in the space available and it has the advantage of being able to handle many projects that have been published for machining on a Myford ML7 etc.

4. If you buy one do not be tempted to get the rotary digital readouts. I did but have since taken them off in favour of a linear type.

5. The push buttons for speed selection are OK but I would prefer something a bit more positive for the stop button. Although there is an emergency stop, the instinct is to go for the normal stop button in a hurry and I may look into modifying this.

6. The gears are a bit noisy and a bit fiddly to change but I do not do much screw cutting so it is not a big problem for me and the noise can be reduced with proper lubrication and set up.

7. Mine worked OK as delivered but did benefit from the usual clean and adjustments recommended for this type of machine. I have never been fully happy with the compound slide though. It has a reasonable length but the gib strips are only in contact with a short length of the body at any one time. Mine spends most of its time locked in position.

8. I am not averse to doing modifications but other than fitting a quick change tool post, replacing some screws for better quality ones and making a carriage stop, I have not felt the need to do more.

Regards

John

Chris Parsons21/10/2013 13:07:16
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118 forum posts
37 photos

I have had an SC4 for 12 months and am very pleased with it - and find the power feed a very useful addition, in fact it was what persuaded me to go for it in the first place...I use it all the time

I would agree with about faffing about with the change gears but don't cut threads that often on the lathe so it's not really a factor - you do get a good selection of gears though

Does everything I want to do and then some - overall if I had to decide again I would make the same choice,

You are welcome to ask any questions

Chris

Geoff~21/10/2013 16:57:54
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31 forum posts

A big thank you to everyone who has replied here, it really is appreciated.

On the noise issue..

Ketan, what was your own personal view of the noise when you demonstrated the machine? Compared say to your C3 and C6?

Bob and Chris, what’s the noise like on your machines?

thanks

Geoff~

jason spencer21/10/2013 17:03:59
72 forum posts

I had one and thought it was OK. I sold it when I realised I could have a 3 phase machine for less cash, I didn't find it made much noise and changing the gears wasn't much of a pain in the bottom either.

Ketan Swali21/10/2013 17:45:24
1425 forum posts
133 photos

Well Geoff,

It was a little more noisy than the SC3 and the SC6. However, our engineer feels that the noise could reduce, once the gears are adjusted and re-lubricated. I can only comment after we check it properly.

However, reading the comments on here gives me some confidence in terms of considering to add the SC4 to our range if everything checks out.

I should have mentioned earlier that we have another customer who has an Axminster SC4. He visited us a week after the person who suggested it was noisy, and this second guy suggested that the machine was a little more noisy then his, but he also suspected that this was down to adjustment.

So, if it is the SC4 you are considering, then judging by the comments here, it seems to be a viable machine, which at present you can obtain from Axminster.

Ketan at ARC.

Steve Withnell22/10/2013 18:45:38
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843 forum posts
222 photos

Geoff,

Stop worrying and get a SC6 off ARC. The SC6 will give you plenty of elbow room between centres even if you do not plan on machining parts that long. Sometimes it's helpful to be able to get the tailstock and saddle well out of the way whilst you fiddle with the workpiece, especially tricky set-ups.

My liability for this advice is limited to what you paid for it

Steve

mark mc22/10/2013 22:08:49
92 forum posts
16 photos

I've got a comet vs lathe too (sc4) now for a few years and have been quite happy with it, huge amounts of torque for such a small lathe and the power feeds are really handy. The only thing I changed was the dial for the cross feed, I made a 200 division one that relates to the amount I'm taking off the work. which made things a lot more handy. Arc also have a collet chuck which fits straight on the spindle which I got which is nice. Wish they carried more stuff for it. hint hint wink

Bob Perkins23/10/2013 08:16:50
249 forum posts
60 photos

Geoff

I'm not in a position to compare the noise level with other machines. I guess it is noisier at higher speeds, but I would not consider it too noisy. I agree with the previous comments that the noise can be reduced by setting and lubrication. I have found the power feeds very good, and as a virgin screw cutter got on well with setting the change gears and reverse control.

hope you find this helpful.

regards

Bob..

jim'23/10/2013 10:18:22
72 forum posts
6 photos

i've had a C4 for about 6 years, mostly used for making some special fasteners in stainless. done thousands never had a problem.

it is quite happy to thread stainless with an M6 die under power and will tap M8 under power with ease.

Geoff~31/10/2013 21:30:00
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31 forum posts

Another thumbs up for the SC4 from Allan who has been building the Stuart 'Victoria'

reproduced with his permission...

On 21/10/2013 15:01:53 Allan. wrote:

Hi Geoff.

I don't find it noisy at all, quiet in fact. I did not do any stripping down at all after delivery, yes lots of cleaning of excess grease but that's all and it didn't take long. I would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone and I love using it.

There is only one slight change to make and that is to the support bracket that holds the chuck guard as in its delivered state it prevents use of the faceplate. I was a bit surprised at this but its very easy to overcome - no strip down involved just slight modification with a hacksaw in my case!

I cannot imagine anyone being disappointed with this machine.

Bob Perkins31/10/2013 21:54:02
249 forum posts
60 photos

I'm afraid my chuck guard came off within a week of delivery!

wheeltapper01/11/2013 11:27:50
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424 forum posts
98 photos
Posted by Bob Perkins on 31/10/2013 21:54:02:

I'm afraid my chuck guard came off within a week of delivery!

Ha, beat you.

mine came off the day it arrived, I bought a 4 jaw chuck with mine and it wouldn'd go on with the guard in the way.

one of the few silly design quirks.

Roy.

Chris Parsons01/11/2013 13:40:30
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118 forum posts
37 photos

Bit of a belated reply to Geoff's question about the noise made by an SC4, apologies

I have only had one lathe (this one) and run it in the spare room of a first floor apartment, it's not an issue according to my neighbours

Like another poster I didn't have to strip it down, just clean off the shipping grease (same as the mill) but can't find any fault with it so far - the only 'issue' I had was once the power feed lever would not move, which was down to lack of lubrication on one of the oil ports on the front of the saddle, user incompetence (doh)

As an aside I did a lathe course at Axminster tool centre and the SC4 is the primary teaching machine - these get abused as you can probably imagine but have stood up to it very well (one of the reasons I did their course before buying one!)

As I said before, given the choice I would go for it again - looked at the SC6 sold by Arc but it didn't have the power feed...

Chris

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